Posts by Author: Mathew D. Rhys
 

Throwback Thursday–Gym Class

2006-05-26-Gym ClassYou might have noticed that things have been a little slow over on Forces of Good and Evil. While there are reasons (and if you were following us there, you'd already know that!),  we at Ideal Comics still want to share as many goodies with you as we can! So on this #ThrowbackThursday, let's call back to our second Chad-centric story--complete with a brand new cover from young artist "Michael Van Reese". We are proud to re-present "Gym Class: Hijinks and Hi-jacks!"
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ICYMI–Quarterbin 33: Goodwin, Infantino, and Star Wars, Oh My

Image2In Case You Missed It, as anyone who knows me can attest, I am a huge fan of old things—old music, old stories, old whiskey.

AHEM.

Imagine my glee in finding a classic Star Wars Marvel comic from 1979 made by two giants—Archie Goodwin and Carmine Infantino! Follow me to Gaming Rebellion as I ask the question “Whatever Happened to Jabba the Hutt?”

Hello, Internet! To any of you who may have followed my column over at Ideal Comics, it is no surprise that I have a lot of comics. A lot. Now, I wouldn't say I have an excessive amount or anything, but I do own several file cabinets whose only purpose is to hold comics--five of them, in fact.

Time was that I had all my books bagged and boarded and sorted by title and publication date; and all the good stuff Gen-X-nerds were supposed to do. In my mid-20's I got just a little bit prosperous, and signed up for a comic subscription service, then I got busy and then I got poor again; and before you could say "limited edition, foil-embossed cover" I had a problem.

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ICYMI–Quarterbin Follies #32: Takes a Miracle

In Case You MImage2issed It, back in December, I mentioned that I was moving “Quarterbin Follies” off site. I was offered a spot over at Gaming Rebellion, and it seemed like a great venue to rant about the hits and misses of the stacks of comics in my file cabinets.

Now, I am not going any where. You will still find me puttering about the Ideal Comics offices, muttering about continuity and symbolism; it is only that the GR guys offered me a hell of a soapbox. (Though I ought to climb on top more often.) Nevertheless, I didn't want to leave behind any folks that might watch this space; so without further ado, a live teaser for “Quarterbin Follies #32: It takes a Miracle”

Today's story begins at the end. The very end.

Ragnorok.

Jack Kirby, when working with Stan the Man on The Mighty Thor, well, Kirby decided to go out with a bang. In a series of back-ups called “Tales of Asgard” Kirby laid out the end of Asgard and the House of Ideas' Aesir, as he adapted Ragnarok for the 616. This was “prophecy,” a fore-telling from the mind of the King, rather then the direction Marvel editorial would have one of their stars go.

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Extra! Extra! Ideal Comics News for you!

20090728_LL_14thSt_Newsboy-039Hello, Internet!  We here at the Scottsbluff offices of Ideal Comics are fresh from the floor of the Cheyenne Comic Con. It was a real great time as we spent three days talking about comics and handing our free Ideal Comics coloring books. Free, you ask? Yep, super free. Because that is how we roll. We decided on an experiment: mini-coloring book of eight pages featuring brand-new adventures of our Golden Age stalwarts Al Djinn and Night Terror--complete 'Golden Age' style stories in eight pictures. We had a lot of great feedback on both the coloring books and the company as a whole, and it really made us take a step back and reassess our position. Since we released our first anthology Zing Comics #1 in 2007, a lot of water has passed under the bridge. Life has moved on, and we have just been bobbing along. Well, this summer going to be the Summer of Ideal Comics. We have plans to redouble our efforts to finish the long awaited Zing Comics #2 as well as finish the Special Edition of Zing Comics #1 (and digital editions of both). As things move on with these projects, we have a few more projects to announce in coming months, so stay tuned. But with every step forward you run the risk of loss. We have decided to change our update schedule for our web-comic Forces of Good and Evil from twice weekly to every Friday. We are super pleased with the relaunch, and love what Rolf Gerdau has been faithfully bringing to the table; but we also don't want to lose quality as we press toward this mark! We are greatly excited, and hope you will take this journey with us!
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“What Home Means to Me: Home is Gratitude” by Gerdau

What Home Means to Me_Gerdau Our own Rolf Gerdau recently took first place in a local art contest with this info comic. A neat and insightful piece, Rolf uses an almost whimsy parallelism to discuss the very serious ideas of home, contentment, and satisfaction in frank but inclusive terms. Everyone, rich or poor, is challenged to take a hard look at themselves, their assumptions, and their perceptions of those around them. We are proud to showcase it here, and you can read more about the piece and the contest here. And be sure to follow Rolf's work over at the Forces of Good and Evil! (Comic/Artwork is the property of Cirrus House, Inc. Used with permission)
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When I think of Ideal Comics by DELW

When I think of Ideal Comics, I think of two words: Genuine and Inspiring. Ideal’s founders, Chris and Rhys, are true fans of fiction and it shows. I have always seen the pair as an invaluable and willing resource for all things comic/sci-fi/nerd related. Their passion for world/character building goes far beyond merely knowing the minutiae Image1aof any given comic book. It permeates their dedication to creating their own living breathing fictional universe, “Escher’s World.” For every character of theirs you see or read you can bet there is a mile’s worth of backstory. No matter how big or small, whether it is a throwaway gag or an entire series, every character has a history, every event has a purpose, and every effect has a cause. Chris and Rhys have grown up immersing themselves in the world of fiction and their dedication to creating one of their own definitely shines through every project. Image2     When I first encountered Ideal Comics, it was through the adventures of Chad Little and Greg Mason in Forces of Good and Evil. The webcomic completely blew my mind! Since I was a kid, I have always wanted to create stories—books, movies, cartoons, comics, whatever. But there always seemed to a mystery in the process. How does an idea go from point A to point B and turn into a completed project? How does your imagination become reality? For me, Ideal Comics revealed that magic. They showed me that all you had to do to see your dreams come true was have a little bit of gumption. When I first saw the simple black and white format of Forces, I remember immediately having the epiphany “Wow! You can create stories without spending millions of dollars or compromising your ideas!” That has been a very important and invaluable lesson that I have always cherished and will always owe to Chris and Rhys. Darby Ellis Lewis Wilson is a thinker and writer, and co-creator of the Super University for College Kids
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Get Ready For a Heaping Helping of CHAD

Image1Hello, and a happy Friday to you all in Internet land! Today is a day I have anxiously a-waiting for the last 18 months! Yes, today, in the pages of Forces of Good and Evil we begin the Chad Little epic “Plain History.” Join Chad as he roams across the Great and High Plains and westward to uncover the Mysteries his mother only alluded to in “Parent's Day.” Chad has really been through a lot since page 1, from self professed villain to something else. It has been a real pleasure for me, and the whole works has taken on twists I never saw coming, and few we had planned all along. More than a month ago, we promised a Chad-ssential reading list, to get you all up to speed before diving into this latest saga!
  • The beginning is always a great place to start, and “Aptitude” is our beginning; but it doesn't really get to the heart of who Chad is.
  • I'd say that really starts with “Five Stages,” where Chad has to face his predicament straight on.
  • In “Gym Class: Hijinks and Hi-Jacks” we see Chad and his hero school comrades in a class, and see them starting to gel.
  • In the short “24/7 Mart—Trading Punches” Chad and Greg share some quality time, and Chad meets Jagged Princess for the first time. And what a time it is!
  • Blunt Instruments, or The Curious Tale of Chaddington Little” continues the theme, and shows how, not only is Chad accepted by his new friends, but starts to value them. Just a little.
  • Our next stop in “Day in the Life pt 2: Chad Gets a Girl.” In Part 1, the villain students find themselves spending a week displaced and at hero school. In this chapter, Chad and Jagged Princess end up seeing each other in a new light.
  • Jagged Princess is the main focus of “Happy Birthday, All Your Friends Are Here,” but she gets a vital assist from the ever-more heroic Chad.
  • Chad's new resolve is challenged in “The Hero's Path.”
  • And we round out out little tour with “Parent's Day.” It is the eponymous event at the Jack Cole Institute of Super Heroics, and Chad is accompanied by his Parents. But while Chad is snatched away by Jagged Princess, his mother and an old friend stop a rampaging robot; PlainHistorypt1cover3which leaves Chad with a whole series of questions!
And that Brings us up to now, and “Plain History.” The story starts next week with Part 1, and it is a doozy. Before I go, though, I wanted to share this alternate cover art done by Rolf Gerdau. Look forward to more art from this notable local talent, and Happy Reading!
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Celebrate!

2016-01-03 The Other Lenny CoverWelcome Back, Internet. It has been too long, but the real world has sadly interfered with my best of intentions. So it was last week that I meant to get this written and posted and celebrated. After all, last week was sort of a big deal here on the IC homestead. It was ten years ago—3rd January 2006—that we published the first page of Forces of Good and Evil. To me, that made last Sunday a big deal—for a decade we have been telling stories about these crazy high-schoolers. When we started, it was just Chris and me, and it was just a vehicle to introduce people to our universe—a place were super heroes ended WW2, where alien technology had given us unlimited energy, and where the US Department of Education trained super -heroes and -villains! That first story was crude and rough and kinda ugly, but it will always have a special place in my heart. In the left ventricle. Sunday last was a big deal for me for another reason, too. It was the launch of a new story, restarting Forces after a year long hiatus (for those of you who wonder what ever happened to Buckskin Boone-- don't fret. That tale will be finished soon!) Leading the charge on this new six pager, is our new fill-in artist, Taliesin Reese. A young fella with a lot of talent, it has been a real joy working with him; and page three of his debut story posted today. Chris already wrote a little about this on drop day, but this is mine! “Meanwhile...The Other Lenny” focuses on two of our background characters. Lenny was assigned as Greg's henchman way back in “The Most Evil Villain of all Time, Ever” (specifically here). The Anthrax sprung out of a cheap joke, but a nod to The Muppet Movie, that we stuck into “Disco Fever.” He and Lenny both returned in “Day in the Life, Pt 1,” but The Anthrax really has a moment to shine in “Demon's Diary,” if I do say so. But this, this story is Lenny's moment. Anyway, that was my trip through the past and looking into the future. I hope you all enjoyed it, and Happy Reading!
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It’s a Winter Wonderland!

IClogo_2A test1dWelcome Internet, and Happy Hanukkah. This is the part of the blog where I normally welcome people to Quarterbin Follies. Not so today. In fact, I will be putting Quarterbin Follies on hold here on idealcomics.net throughout rest of the year. But wait, you might say, where will I go to read about all kinds of old comics. Well, you may want to check out Gaming Rebellion (just saying); but here on Ideal we will be talking about new comics. OUR new comics. 2016-01-04 DO I EVEN KNOW YOUThat's right kids, Ideal Comics is going back in the business of making new, weekly web-comics. Now, I know it's been almost a year since any Forces goodness has eeked out. And I'm not going to lie, that bums me out, too; but take heart gentle readers, for we have got some dynamite stuff coming up. Throughout the month of December, we here at the Ideal Comics editorial will be highlighting some of our favorite Forces stories. Plus, we will also be giving you a Chad-centric reading list to get you up to speed for next Forces epic. See, we have been working in the shadows for months; and the fun all starts on our 10 year anniversary, January third! Then we will be launching a new Forces story featuring the art of Taliesin Reese. This is going to be a quick six page story, a little side rail into our Forces Of Good And Evil universe; and it is set during the “National Villainy", our last long-form epic! Image1Coming up after that is the first chapter in our Chad Little Extravaganza “Plain History”. Spinning out of the events of “Parent's Day”, we will have the chance to follow Chad as he tracks down his mother's big secret in this (graphic) novel length story! Chapter one will feature the art of another Ideal Comics new-comer of Rolf Gerdau based on the script by yours truly. Look for fun and exciting things coming up here, let me tell you! All in all, good things are coming your way; and for all you Ideal Comics faithful, we thank you for your continued readership and patronage. We look forward to the coming year, and to providing you with “Everything Great About Comics!”
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Quarterbin Follies #31: Spider-Man says “Happy St Andrew’s Day!”

Image1Hello and welcome to a special St Andrew's Day edition of Quarterbin Follies! What is St. Andrew's Day, you ask? Well, it is the feast day in honor of St Andrew, patron saint of the nation of Scotland, and so, I thought I would take this opportunity to look into Charles Vess's Spider-Man: Spirits of the Earth. But what does this have to do with St Andrew? Not much, but read on!

Charles Vess, you might recognize, is an artist and painter, and frequent collaborator with Neil Gaiman. In fact, it was Vess's gorgeous paintings that adorn the graphic version of Stardust (sadly, I only have the picture-less mass-market paperback that was released the year before the film hit theaters, but I digress).

As recounted by Vess himself in the Afterword, Vess suffered a very similar affliction as many of us Yankees—a fascination with the mysterious Highlands of Scotland. Yes, there are many of us under Old Glory's stripes and starry field that harbor a romance and longing for those foggy and forbidding slopes, and it was in 1983 that Vess took his first trip across the pond. Years went on and Vess found a way to combine his love of the land and people of Scotland with his job as a comics and fantasy illustrator.

In 1990, Vess released Spirits, having written, painted, and even lettered it, and it was a labor of love. The book was published by Marvel as a full glossy, hardcover book, complete with a fancy dust jacket and a $18.95 price tag. Now you might be asking why I am reviewing a $20 comic in a column called “Quarterbin Follies.” Well, I just have to say, “Thanks, Goodwill!” The other more pressing question is what is Spider-Man doing in Scotland?

Image4This is in fact the question posited by the fancy dust jacket. After all, there may not be a comic character more in tune with and tied into New York City than Spider-Man. The book even begins with a beautiful full page in inks and watercolors showcasing ol' Spidey enraptured with his home-turf. But before long we see our hero and his bride flying across the sea. Mary Jane (and, yes, I am going to ignore “One More Day,” thanks for asking) is the sole inheritor of a bit of farmland in the Highland town of Lochalsh. Mrs. Mary MacLeod left the cottage and bit of acreage to MJ in hopes that is would not be sold off, a fate she had lamented in the letter that accompanied the will.

Before long, Pete and MJ arrive in the scenic and peaceful village; and it isn't more than two pages before Peter begins complaining that the Highlands are just not New York. I mean, peace and quiet are nice, but what about the noise and danger?! The couple spend a couple of days puttering about the village and in the MacLeod cottage before an evening at the Pub turns very interesting. In over-hearing the town gossip, Peter is surprised to hear tales of fairies and specters across the moors that have more and more folks talking about selling out to a faceless real estate company intent on buying all the land round about the loch and the recently abandoned castle of Duncraig.

You see, this whole village and territory has been presided over for six generations by the scions and Lairds Munro, but of late, disease and misfortune have claimed all but three of the once great house: the Laird Hugh, his nephew Angus Munro and the Hugh's heir and grandson young Hugh. Several of the townsfolk and the Laird himself attest to seeing the young one snatched away by fairies, just like in some old legend. Not long after, ghosts and faeries sent old Hugh packing to a flat in town, and now he is a sad, broken shell of his former self.

All this sends Peter's skeptic and curious mind a-whirling, and after his own personal encounter with the spectral nasties, Spider-Man is enlisted by a local weird hag (and I mean that in a literary sense) called Dark Mairi of the Shore to save the land from this threat, which she is adamant has nothing to do with ghost or the Fair Folk below the hills.

Image5In the end, city-boy Parker finds himself at the crossroads of pseudo-science and magic far-far away from his beloved bright lights; and in a modern legend as at home next door to Scottish tales of the Kelpie or of Tam Lin as it is in the middle of Marvel's 616 Universe. I previously made mention of Peter's obvious discomfort in the setting of Highland Scotland, away from his city and from his scientific reasoning. Nevertheless, on the pages of Spirits this complaining does not set the tone for the piece. Rather, the graphic novel as a whole serves as Vess's love letter to the Highlands—Peter's discontent juxtaposing the surrounding and enthralling mystery of timeless places. It was also a treat to see MJ given a role in the victory in a way that honors her own fighter's spirit and the supportive love she holds for her husband.

These feats Vess completes with a nuanced grace, with the ease of a studied storyteller, and with stunning visuals to make the heart weep. My one complaint with the story is that the denouement is certainly too brief, and too tidily wraps up the handful of loose ends left behind in the climax. Nevertheless, this was a joy to read and to review; and well worth checking out at (almost) any opportunity.

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